Qantas has seemingly rejected an offer from the ALAEA to provide strike breakers for its own industrial action, after the union representing Qantas maintenance workers announced a series of rolling two hour work stoppages beginning in Melbourne on July 4, and a ban on overtime, but at the same time said its members who were rostered off during the industrial action would be available to work overtime during those stoppage periods.
“The concept would add financial cost to the carrier as they would be required to pay overtime rates to replace workers who would be docked a single time hourly rate,” said ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas in a statement. “It does, however, work out cheaper than the $5000 per week Qantas are currently offering alternative workers and we know that safety won’t be affected because the regular employees would be working the overtime.”
In appearing to reject the novel offer, Qantas group executive operations Lyell Strambi called the offer “blatantly cynical”.
“No Australian company would pay staff four times their normal rate to go on strike,” Strambi said. “What incentive would the union have to reach an agreement with workers earning more money while on strike?”
Strambi said that Qantas was “currently assessing our contingency plans to minimise the disruptions”.
The ALAEA argues that “the offer to provide strike-breakers from within the union places the heat fairly and squarely on Qantas’s shoulders. If they don’t accept the offer and services are disrupted as a result, it would be due to a decision of the airline and not the actions of the union.”